The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church

Biographical Dictionary
Pope Benedict XIII (1724-1730)
Consistory of November 20, 1724 (II)
Celebrated in Rome


(3) 1. PETRA, Vincenzo (1662-1747)

Birth. November 13, 1662, Naples (1). Of a patrician family. Son of Carlo Petra, royal counselor and first duke of Vastogirardi, and Cecilia Pepe. Brother of Duke Nicola Petra di Vastogirardi and Giuseppe Maria Petra, marquis of Caccavone. Nephew of Diego Petra, archbishop of Sorrento; and of Dionisio Petra, bishop of Capri.

Education. Studied at Seminario Romano, Rome (philosophy and theology); and at the University of Naples, where he obtained a doctorate in utroque iure, both canon and civil law, on December 18, 1682.

Priesthood. Ordained (no information found). Secretary of Msgr. Giovanni Muti Pappazurri, famous auditor of the Sacred Roman Rota, 1691. Referendary of the Tribunals of the Apostolic Signature of Justice and of Grace, September 24, 1693. Voter of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature of Grace, November 1694. Secretary of the S.C. of the Apostolic Visit and the State of the Regulars, June 1698. Lieutenant of the auditor of the Chamber, January 1700. Secretary of the S.C. of the Tridentine Council, May 1706. Consultor of the Apostolic Penitentiary, April 1, 1711; confirmed in this post, January 21, 1713. Consultor of the Supreme S.C. of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, 1712. Canon of the patriarchal Lateran basilica, 1712.

Episcopate. Elected titular archbishop of Damasco, October 5, 1712. Consecrated, October 9, 1712, Rome, by Cardinal Fabrizio Paolucci. Assistant at the Pontifical Throne, December 8, 1712. Secretary of the S.C. of Bishops and Regulars, December 1715, succeeding Ferdinando Nuzzi, who had been promoted to the cardinalate; occupied the post until his own promotion. Datary of the Apostolic Penitentiary, 1722.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of November 20, 1724; received the red hat and the title of S. Onofrio, December 20, 1724. Abbot of S. Maria dei Banzi, Naples, 1725. Prefect of the S.C. of Propaganda Fide, January 10, 1727 until his death. Participated in the conclave of 1730, which elected Pope Clement XII. Appointed pro-penitentiary major by the Sacred College of Cardinals during the sede vacante, March 26, 1730; confirmed as penitentiary major by the new Pope Clement XII, after July 12, 1730; occupied the post until his death. Camerlengo of the S.C. of Cardinals, January 19, 1733. Opted for the title of S. Pietro in Vincoli, February 11, 1737. Participated in the conclave of 1740, which elected Pope Benedict XIV. Opted for the order of bishops and the suburbicarian see of Palestrina, September 16, 1740.

Death. March 21, 1747, at 10:30 a.m., Rome (2). Transferred to the church of S. Maria in Vallicella, Rome, March 22, 1747; the capella papalis took place the following day and later, at 9:30 p.m., his body was taken, in a solemn cavalcade, to the church of Santo Spirito de' Napolitani and buried in front of the main altar, in the tomb he had built for himself.

Bibliography. Berton, Charles. Dictionnaire des cardinaux, contenant des notions générales sur le cardinalat, la nomenclature complète ..., des cardinaux de tous les temps et de tous les pays ... les détails biographiques essentiels sur tous les cardinaux ... de longues études sur les cardinaux célèbre .... Paris : J.-P. Migne, 1857 ; Facsimile edition. Farnborough ; Gregg, 1969, col. 1365-1366; Cardella, Lorenzo. Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa. 9 vols. Rome : Stamperia Pagliarini, 1794, VIII, 203-205; Notizie per l'anno bissestile 1752. Rome : Nella Stamperia del Chracas, presso S. Marco al Corso, 1752, p. 128, no. 30; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen V (1667-1730). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1952, pp. 35, 46 and 180; Ritzler, Remigium, and Pirminum Sefrin. Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recientoris Aevi. Volumen VI (1730-1799). Patavii : Typis et Sumptibus Domus Editorialis "Il Messaggero di S. Antonio" apud Basilicam S. Antonii, 1968, pp. 40 and 48; Weber, Christoph. Die päpstlichen Referendare 1566-1809 : Chronologie und Prosopographie. 3 vols. Stuttgart : Anton Hiersemann, 2003-2004. (Päpste und Papsttum ; Bd. 31/1, 31/2, 31/3; Variation: Päpste und Papsttum ; Bd. 31), III, 810.

Link. Brief biographical data, in Italian, Comune di Poggio Sannita; his portrait, Casa d'Aste.

(1) This is according to Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, V, 35 and 180, note 7; and Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, VIII, 203. The site of the Comune of Poggio Sannita lists him among its illustrious ecclesiastics. The commune is located in the autonomous region of Molise, diocese and province of Isernia.
(2) Cardella, Memorie storiche de' cardinali della Santa Romana Chiesa, VIII, 204, says that he died when he was 97 years old. If this is correct, he was born in 1650 and not in 1662 as Hierarchia Catholica Medii et Recentioris Aevi, VI, 180; and Notizie per l'anno bissestile 1752, p. 128, no. 30, indicate.

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